At 3:00am I googled the phrase my iPhone is accustomed to seeing, “Where is Hurricane Matthew now?” The familiar satellite image emerged with such buzz words as “catastrophic,” “deadly,”and “destructive” attached to attract potential readers’ eyes. This massive storm barreling down on depictions of land in the Caribbean, places I’ve been or didn’t even know existed, all seem like some type of video game my kids used to play.
But they’re not.
Back in the early 1990’s, I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida with 3 small toddlers on some blown-up land on the Bay. A tropical storm came through, and I remember vividly the night I sat on the bathroom floor with my three babies watching the bathroom door rise and fall. The sounds of the wind whipping through the cracks in our sliding glass door and the noises of stray swimming pool furniture thrashing around outside of my apartment caused my daughter, then 3-years-old, to cry and cling to me. I sang all their favorite songs and promised them a trip to the local market for our favorite ice cream when it was all over – – until they fell asleep in my lap. I turned off my flashlight to save the batteries. Darkness fell around me as I sat in the dark, praying.
In the wee hours of the morning, I thought of a mama in Haiti. Maybe she wasn’t even aware a storm was coming. Maybe she has never seen the Weather Channel or a Satellite picture. Her home could be three heavy branches with a blue tarp tied as securely as possible. It could be a mud thatched home or one made of cement blocks with a grass roof. I’ve seen the pictures. I know the homes that exist there. And as she huddles close to her little ones, feeling the sting of rain beating down as the winds whirl and whip around them, what songs does she sing? How does she comfort them? What promises does she make to them? The dirt will turn to mud, the darkness will envelope them, and the roofs over their heads will more than likely join the wind, leaving them defenseless.
Currently, The Torch has a mission team in Haiti – Pastor Mike Franklin, Pastor Mike Thomas, Daniel Usher, and Charles Parker. Touch of Light ministries CFO, Cliff Brown, also of Habersham is less than 2 hours from where our team is – all on the southwestern arm where Hurricane Matthew hit. It is a testimony of faith – Jesus with skin – for these people and others to ride out the storm with those we’ve committed to help.
Please be in prayer for all people in this massive storm’s path. Pray for God’s loving, righteous Hand to hold tight. Pray that the wind and mud only takes that which is replaceable. Pray that those who are there to help are able to help. Pray for the emergency relief personnel to be able to reach those who need assistance. Pray for food provision, fresh water, and shelter.
Pray in all the inevitable destruction, Jesus will become very visible, in bottled water, smiles, a plate of rice and beans, tents, medical assistance, and the touch of someone who loves like He does. – Nora C. Almazan